Category Archives: Tech

Has Apple masterminded a marketing stroke of genius?

April 3rd 2010. The day the first generation iPad launched and set alight a new product category that every other major electronics, software, even retail companies have sought to get a slice of.

However, has Apple pulled off and masterminded a stroke of genius by using the ipad to suck consumers into their technology ecosystem, which has never been as popular in the mass market enjoyed by hardware running Microsoft Windows. Over the past few years, many consumers have put off a desktop or laptop purchase in favour of their cousin, the tablet computer.

In many ways more portable, easy to use, more affordable etc etc. However, they have never been as functional as a fully formed computer system. This has led to a level of criticism of the product category, particularly ipads, due to their lack of standard ports such as USB, HDMI etc.

However, the ipad would also have been many consumers first experience of Apple. Now, a few years down the line, many of the consumers who put off their desktop purchase in favour of a tablet, are back in the market for that purchase. And guess what? I bet they immediately look at the ipad’s cousins the imac or macbook. In fact if you look at the difference between the pricing of a high end ipad and a low end macbook, there is very little difference. Thus, wouldn’t it be worth buying a fully functional laptop rather than getting a second, less functional ipad?

I feel, therefore, that Apple has pulled off a massive feat of pulling consumers into their technology ecosystem. Tablet sales are slowing, and Apple has started tying their devices together with features such as Handoff, which is rather an impressive way of bringing your range of ios devices closer to your Mac OS devices.


….more thoughts to follow as my thinking surrounding this continues (included some sources to potentially back up my ‘hunch’!)

Wii Fit Board Scales Hack

My home weighing scales are my worst enemy. For starters, I tend to get on them too much. Secondly, they were only cheap scales, bought a few years ago and have always been temperamental and vary in difference to the scales at Slimming World all the time. This makes them difficult to believe.

I know I shouldn’t weigh at home, but it is tempting to jump on the scales, just to see how I am getting on during the week.

So, i’ve thought about getting new scales that would hopefully be more reliable and accurate. In typical gadget minded style, I’ve considered buying the Withings Body Analyzer. It hooks up to your ipad / ipod / iphone etc and measures several things such as weight, fat %, heart rate even CO2 levels in the room. However, at £129, I think that is rather excessive for a scale. So, I got thinking.

I have a Wii Fit board, which like many others’, is gathering dust. I also have the Wii, but don’t want the effort of connecting it back up to the TV and having to wait for it to boot etc every time I want to use it to weigh (I am hoping it would be more reliable than my scales).

A brief bit of searching online brought up a great piece of software for Mac called WiiScale . I haven’t found anything for PC yet.

Its a great little app, easy to set up. Pairs effortlessly with the Wii Board and looks like the weight measurement is fairly accurate. You can set up multiple users, and based on weight, it will automatically detect which user is standing on the scale. You can tap in additional details such as height so that it calculates BMI.

It saves your weight in a spreadsheet and you can also set it up to tweet the result (if you want to do that!!)


Cab technology

As some one who is immersed in how technology can enhance learning, working in the FE sector and it’s focus on vocational educational and sector skills, I am always interested in the technology used by people in their work.

Today i took a cab from home to the railway station in Bridgend and was intrigued by a great looking piece of kit called Autocab, which the driver was more than happy to explain how it helps.

It looks like a chunky SatNav – but this is much more. What sparked my interest was a screen that showed all the major areas of Bridgend and the number of cabs in each area. So, the driver can see there was one other cab already at Bridgend station and two waiting near the shops in Cefn Glas. He knows that if he stays at Bridgend station, he will be second in line for pick ups, so the drivers use this to spread themselves out and pick up more work .They also get a bookings list that they can then allocate. Even live train and flight times are accessible. I was really impressed, particularly when told they can hook their phone up and get live job updates if they leave the cab for some reason.

Apple iPad Mini Smartcase

Back in November I forked out for a Smart Case for my iPad Mini. I wasn’t overly pleased because of the price, but I wanted a case that protected the iPad completely and snugly. I have had several cheap cases since I bought the iPad approx 18 months ago, and none have lived up to my expectations, hence why there has been several.

Anyway I have been really pleased with the quality of the case up until now. A small part of the case split where there is a hole for the lightening connector. However, I have just visited the Cardiff Apple Store to explain my woes and it was replaced with no quibble at all. I didn’t really have to produce a receipt, but was told it would help.

So, ok the quality has been great, apart from the split, but it may be worth paying the premium if you know that you are going to get excellent customer service. It has also lasted longer than any of the other cases I have previously bought.


Phillips Airfryer

My new health gadget arrived yesterday, a Phillips Airfryer. I’m hoping this will unleash a whole new range of meal ideas in order to give the weight loss a final shove that it needs.

The Airfryer is part of a product category that has emerged based on using little oil and circulating hot air to get results as if the food we’re deep fried, but much healthier.

Other similar products include the Tefal Actifry range. The gadget show have done a comparison test previously and based on this and also on the recommendation of friends, I decided to try out the Phillips offering.

I’ll report some results once I’ve used it.


Wearable Tech

I’m feeling quite lucky at the moment. Why? Well, as per usual, when I get into something, I usually look at how technology can help refine and enhance.  When I went into education, it was more than obvious that I would specialise in learning technology.  I am now into exercise and fitness and have always looked at how some apps could help me out.

Having recently invested in some new running trainers, which happened to Nike+ enabled, I have become interested in wearable tech and how this can help track, monitor, refine and enhance what I am doing.

I think I have chosen a fantastic time as the technology news is bubbling with rumours that Apple are up to something that will be more than an ‘iWatch’ but will be closely linked to health monitoring.

I was considering investing in a Nike Fuelband, but a bit of research has led me to identify other tech and gadgets that are really intriguing and quite sexy, such as the Misfit Wearables Shine activity monitor. I may even hold off to see what the Apple rumours come up with, as I am sure it will be something pretty neat!!